MAGNOLIA Ang Pambansang Manok was supposed to be the tired team since it was playing its third game in five days, while Columbian was supposed to have fresh legs, having had more than two weeks of rest.
"Happy kasi kahit papano naka-two out of three kami sa mahirap na schedule," added Victolero. "We looked forward kasi sa at least maka-50 percent kami before the break. Our next game kasi is on Saturday."
It sure didn't look like it.
The Hotshots came out with more energy than the Dyip, especially in the second half, resulting in the former's 110-103 victory Sunday in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
James Farr and Ian Sangalang each scored 22 points while Paul Lee added 21, including 11 in a critical third quarter turnaround, to lead Magnolia to its second straight win in four games.
"Medyo mabigat kasi nag-back-to-back-to-back kami," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero following his team's follow up to its 98-88 win over NLEX last Friday.
The Hotshots now have the momentum and, what's more, get a much-needed rest before seeing action again on Saturday against Phoenix Pulse, kicking off the former's three-game grind in one week.
"Uniti-unti, sana makuha namin 'yung rhythm, makuha namin 'yung momentum before our games against very tough teams," said Victolero.
The debuting Lester Prosper finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds, but did not display the defensive tenacity Columbian coach Johnedel Cardel gave as reason why the team decided to bring him in in lieu of original import Kyle Barone.
CJ Perez added 18 points and Glenn Khobuntin scored all 14 of his points in the fourth period to keep the Dyip within striking distance.
Still, those and Rashawn McCarthy's 11 points and Jackson Corpuz's 10 weren't enough as they absorbed their fourth loss in five games.
Jerramy King, sidelined the last five months by a torn posterior cruciate ligament, also made his conference debut but contributed only two points as Columbian failed to follow up its breakthrough 120-105 win over NLEX last June 1.
Magnolia showed little ill effects of its grueling schedule as Farr added 11 boards and Sangalang eight with Jio Jalalon winding up with 17 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
As what he has been consistently doing in the absence of Rafi Reavis (gums operation), Rodney Brondial gave quality minutes anew with eight points and seven rebounds.
Five of Brondial's points came in the fourth period, where he joined hands with Sangalang, Farr and Barroca in keeping Magnolia's head afloat in the face of repeated threats by Columbian to breach the eight-point barrier.
The Dyip's brightest chance came following Farr's miss when Khobuntin was left wide open for a 3 which he missed. Prosper also muffed his putback try and, in the ensuing play, Sangalang found Rome dela Rosa for an easy undergoal stab that all but iced the game, 108-98, only 66 seconds left.
Lee led the way in the early goings by sinking his first six tries from the field, including four from beyond the arc.
The combo guard's back-to-back triples tied the game for the 13th and 14th time at 58. And when the Dyip took a 62-58 lead, he added another trey to fuel a scorching 14-0 run that installed Magnolia frmly ahead 76-62.
The difference even got stretched to 85-70 before the Hotshots went to the final canto with a 12-point spread.
Magnolia 110 - Farr 22, Sangalang 22, Lee 21, Jalalon 17, Barroca 9, Brondial 8, Melton 3, Herndon 2, Dela Rosa 2, Ramos 2, Pascual 0.
Columbian 103 - Prosper 26, Perez 18, McCarthy 11, Corpuz 10, Calvo 6, Escoto 4, Celda 4, Cahilig 3, Camson 3, Reyes 2, King 2, Faundo 0.
Quarterscores: 34-28, 52-52, 85-74, 110-103